PASSÉ SIMPLE (THE SIMPLE PAST) By Heather Jourden PASSÉ SIMPLE...because even the most complicated of pasts can be simplified and overcome through love and grace. Chapter 1 His eyes were lit with concern. “Where were you last night? Anna said you didn’t come in until early this morning. Another late night study?” Her eyes were hidden by sunglasses and she kept her head down as he looked on. She prayed he couldn’t see her shame or her fear. She knew he’d understand it wasn’t her fault, but she couldn’t tell him; she couldn’t tell anyone what had happened. “Sorta” she mumbled. “Hey, are you OK? What’s wrong?” He watched as she picked at her breakfast. She never did eat much for breakfast, but even this was unusual. “You know you can tell me anything. What happened last night?” He pulled his chair closer to her and went to take her into his arms, but she moved away. “Sweetheart?” “We’re gonna be late for class. We’d better go.” “Are you OK?” “I will be. I always am. Come on, lets get to class.” “Shall I meet you at 10?” “Um, no, I’ve got something I need to do.” “What about lunch?” They were walking towards class now. “Well, um,” she sighed deeply. “Well, I need to get to work right away.” “Ok. I’ll run you over before lunch. Are you gonna eat?” “I’ll find something. Don’t worry about taking me to work. I need the walk so I can think.” “Hey,” He stopped and reached for her arm. She flinched and drew her breath in sharply. He could tell she was in pain. “What happened?” He started to pull her sleeve up to look, but she pulled away from him. “Are you angry with me?” “No.” Tears in her eyes, she ran into the building and into class. She wasn’t angry with Charles, but neither could she face him now. She rubbed at the cut on her arm, where he’d grabbed at her. She looked at her sleeve and noticed fresh blood. “Damn!” she swore to herself. She quietly slipped out the door and down the hall to the bathroom. She slipped into the stall and grabbed some toilet paper. Wetting some towels, she used one to pat the blood away from the cut and then pressed a second on the jagged tear in her flesh. She folded a third, dry paper towel over the wet compress and tied it around her arm with the toilet paper. It didn’t look secure, but it would have to do until 10, when she was going back to her room for another shower. She felt so dirty. Throwing away the bloody towel, she rolled her sleeve down and returned to class. It had just started. Good; she couldn’t afford another absence just yet. In the meantime, Charles was in class pondering Eileen’s behavior. Something terrible had happened last night, but she wasn’t talking. Her arm had been cut in whatever happened; he’d felt fresh blood on her arm when he’d grabbed her. He wished she’d talk to him. Chapter 2 Charles was at a loss. He turned to Jenny. “You know her. What could have happened? Why won’t she talk to me?” Jenny saw the anguish in his eyes. “I tell you what. I saw her going to her room. I’ll go see what I can find out.” She left him on the steps of Adams and disappeared into the basement. “Eileen? Are you in here, honey?” She knocked on the door and started to open it. She found it locked and started in surprise. Eileen and Anna never locked the door. Just then, Eileen emerged from the shower, holding her bathrobe tight around her. “Oh, Jenny. Hi.” She was unusually curt and walked past her friend to the door. Taking her keys in her hand, she unlocked the door and peered cautiously in. “Eileen, you locked the door. Nobody’s in there.” “You never know,” she replied cryptically and disappeared into the room, pulling the door closed behind her. Jenny knocked again. “Eileen? What’s wrong honey?” “Just a minute, Jenny” Eileen pulled the door open. Jenny stepped inside, and Eileen quickly closed the door behind her. She had put on a bra and some shorts now, and Jenny gasped in shock. Eileen had bruises all over her abdomen and cuts on her arms and legs. One on her arm bled profusely, and Eileen stepped to the sink to pick up a piece of gauze. “Eileen, honey, what happened?” Jenny stepped closer and took another piece of gauze. Easing Eileen’s hand away, Jenny dabbed at the wound gently. Eileen inhaled sharply. “Jenny, I’m scared. He said he’d send someone after me, but this guy isn’t content to just kill me and get it over with. He’s determined to toy with me.” “Why don’t you get help?” “I can’t. Oh, Jenny, it was worse than ever before! He came up on me from behind and grabbed me. You see this here?” indicating a mark on her neck. “That’s where he held the knife to my throat. He said if I dared even breathe loud he’d kill me. He put handcuffs on me and Oh, God, Jenny!” Eileen collapsed in hysterics. Jenny took her friend into her arms and led her to the bed, where she sat down with her. “Eileen, honey, you’ve got to tell the police.” Eileen interrupted. “Dammit, Jenny, he WAS a cop!” Chapter 3 Eileen shuddered as she sobbed in a heap on the bed. Jenny put her arms around her friend. “He was freakin’ cop! He kept saying ‘Quit resisting me! You’re resisting arrest!’ He was SO damn condescending! Oh, Jenny, he wouldn’t stop! I was so scared. He kept telling me that he was gonna kill me if I didn’t...if I wouldn’t let him..Oh Jenny!” Her tears drowned the words. “Eileen, honey, Charles is upstairs right now, scared silly that he did something and that he’s going to lose you.” “Jenny, how could accept me now? I only had my silly bow left and now even that’s been taken from me! How can I dare to hope that I will ever have a decent life if Ryan is still determined after all these years to destroy me? How can I ask him to stay with me when I could be bringing his life into danger at the worst and at the least I’m bringing him damaged goods?” “Eileen, you aren’t damaged goods! Besides, shouldn’t you allow him to decide for himself what he wants? He accepted you, knowing that Ryan might decide to seek you out. Please, Eileen, talk to him.” “Jenny, you’re the only one who knows. Come with me. I can’t face him alone.” “Sure, honey. Here, wash your face and get dressed.” Jenny grabbed a washcloth from the shelf and ran hot water over it. Handing it to Eileen, she went to the closet and looked for something nice. “Something with long sleeves and jeans, please, dear. I don’t want...” “How’s this?” Jenny held out a forest colored turtle and a lion jacket. “Yeah, that’s good.” She pulled on her jeans and started to pull the turtle on, but it caught on the wrap on her arm. Eileen stopped, and Jenny eased it over the bandage. When she was dressed, she turned to Jenny and offered a weak smile. “Let’s go.” Chapter 4 As the two girls walked up the stairs, Eileen stopped Jenny. “Are you going to miss any classes or work doing this for me? I mean, I don’t want to cause you any trouble.” “I don’t mind. I’ll have Charles call in for you two, and when he comes back, I’ll call in for me and let Timothy know where we’re headed. Where are we going, by the way?” “I think we’ll go out to the lake. It’s so quiet and peaceful there. I’ve always loved the water. Besides, I need to nap. I didn’t get any sleep last night.” She smiled wryly. They continued up the stairs and found Charles pacing nervously. Jenny laughed. “You look like a new father, waiting outside for news of his baby and his wife!” Charles looked at Eileen incredulously. “You don’t mean...How??? I mean, we haven’t DONE anything!” Eileen gave a nervous laugh and Jenny smiled, relieved. “No, Charles, she’s not pregnant. But you two do need to talk, and she’s asked me to come along. Go call in for both of you. You’ll need the afternoon, at least, for this one.” Charles quickly went to the phones and made the two calls, still wondering what was going on and scared stiff that he was about to lose the woman of his dreams. When he came back, Eileen gave him a nervous smile and Jenny went to go make her calls. Eileen was still keeping her gaze averted and Charles wondered what he could say to make her feel better. “I’m not angry with you, beloved.” Her voice was soft, and he had to strain to hear her. “I love you, but I’m scared.” He watched as a tear crept down her face. “Oh, Eileen, honey, I’m here for you. You know that I love you.” “Timothy is going to be praying for you, honey. I didn’t tell him anything, but I asked him to pray and also to call Sasha and have her pray. Let’s go, honey.” Jenny had returned, and Eileen gave her a thankful smile. Chapter 5 When they got to the car, Jenny got in the back seat and while Charles walked around the car, she asked Eileen, “Do you want me to tell him on the way there? That way he can have some extra time to handle the shock while you rest.” “Would you? Thank you so much! I’m gonna sleep now.” Eileen’s voice was almost inaudible. She closed her eyes and was soon sound asleep. As Charles and Jenny looked on, she tossed and turned fitfully. “Something happened last night, didn’t it? She’s reliving it in her nightmares.” Charles had gotten to know Eileen very well in the past year, and he could tell when something was wrong. “I love her so much! I wish I could make all her hurts just go away!” “Well, maybe you can help with this one. She’s scared you won’t be able to love her, not after this, anyway.” As Jenny spoke, she put her hand on Eileen’s arm. She had stopped tossing and now lay limp in the seat, her chest barely rising and falling with each breath. “What happened, Jenny? What is so terrible that she thinks I can’t handle it?” “You know she’s been afraid that Ryan would come after her, right? Well, while we were thinking her fears were a little silly and she was trying to ensure that she couldn’t be found, Ryan did indeed find her.” “What do you mean, he found her?” “Some...”She was at a loss for the mot juste “well, lets say creep, at the risk of committing a MAJOR understatement. Some creep attacked her last night and raped her. That cut on her arm that you noticed is a result of the attack.” “We have to go to the police. Surely she knows that!” Charles was livid. “He was a cop. He was wearing a uniform and had cuffs and everything, she said.” Charles couldn’t listen anymore. He pulled over. “Charles, she wanted to go to the lake. She said she felt at peace there.” “I’m too angry to drive.” “Then let me.” Jenny got out of the car and took Charles’ keys. The remainder of the ride to the lake was a peaceful one, with Eileen sleeping silently and Charles fuming in the back. Chapter 6 They had been at the lake for fifteen minutes before Charles realized just how quiet it was. “It’s too quiet, Jenny. Eileen snores.” Jenny reached over and gently shook Eileen. “Eileen, honey, wake up. Eileen, it’s Jenny and Charles, come on, wake up.” When Eileen still wouldn’t wake, Jenny gently lifted her friend’s arm. “Eileen, honey, wake up.” Her fingers felt the warm dampness of fresh blood, and Jenny turned to Charles. “Charles, come around here for me. We have to get Eileen to the hospital, now.” She looked down at Eileen’s deceptively peaceful face and then reached across her to open the door. Charles was already out of the car and came around to the open door, while Jenny crawled into the back seat “Lay the seat back. I want to get her into the back seat, where I can try to stop the bleeding.” Jenny was trying to pull her into the back seat. Charles opened the back door and helped Jenny with Eileen. “It’ll be lot’s easier if we just leave the seat down.” He closed the doors and got behind the wheel. As he spun off towards the hospital, he asked Jenny, “What’s wrong? What happened to her now?” “When I went down to her room, she had just gotten out of the shower. That cut on her arm was bleeding badly. She dismissed my concern and said it would be fine. She tried to wrap it, but it was hard to do one handed, so I took over for her. I thought I’d wrapped it tight enough to apply pressure and stop the bleeding, but I guess not.” Jenny had one hand over the cut, pressing so hard that she was certain that if Eileen had been awake, she’d be weeping in pain. She moved her other hand to reach the pressure point in her friend’s upper arm. “She’s still losing blood. I don’t know what else to do.” Charles was speeding towards the hospital. He reached down and picked up the car phone. “Take this and call the hospital.” Jenny looked at her hands and let go of the pressure point to grab the phone. Quickly turning it on, she dialed 911. “My friend has a gash on her arm that won’t quit bleeding. She’s passed out, and her boyfriend and I are on the way to the hospital with her right now.” “Are you putting pressure on the cut?” “Yes, and I’ve got her pressure point on the arm, too.” Jenny cradled the phone with her shoulder and put her hand back on the pressure point. “We’ll be waiting for you when you get here.” Chapter 7 “Yes, Timothy, can you come on over? Bring Sasha and Anna. Jeannette is already over here. Charles is on the phone with her parents and his parents are on the way.” Jenny paused and listened. “She’s on her way to surgery right now. Come on over; I’ll give you the details when you get here. I love you too. I’ll see you in a minute.” Charles was just hanging up. “They’re on their way. They’ll be here around four.” “She’ll be fine, Charles. Don’t worry about her.” “I’m not worried. I’m strongly concerned.” He smiled as he thought of the way Eileen would have grinned had she been there. He missed her, and he was scared. “Sure you aren’t worried. Still, you are uptight. Relax! Eileen will be fine.” Jenny smiled reassuringly. “I still haven’t decided how we’re going to tell the police without tipping off the weasel. How do we know that the guy we talk to isn’t the monster responsible?” “Did she tell you anything about what he looked like?” “She said it was dark. She didn’t see his face well.” “I just wish I could DO something! I feel so powerless here!” “Just sit down over here. The doctor will let us know how she is as soon as she’s out. Emmy! We’re over here!” Their friend Emily had just arrived. “Where is she?” “In surgery. Did you see Timothy, Anna or Sasha?” “Anna came with me. She’ll be here in a minute.” “I’m here.” Anna had just come in. Timothy followed her and Sasha gave Charles a hug as she came in. “Are you OK?” “Not really.” Jenny smiled. “He’s notworried.” “What happened?” “She was crying when she came in last night. I asked her what was wrong, and she told me that she’d be fine. She said for me to go back to sleep, so I did. She was gone when I got up.” “She was waiting for me in the student center when I got here to campus this morning.” “Still, she’s always in the room when you call her in the morning. But I still don’t know what happened.” Jenny was relaxing in Timothy’s arms. “She was attacked late last night. One of the knife cuts on her arms was deeper than either of us thought. It refused to stop bleeding, but neither of us realized just how serious it was. When she, Charles and I started out to the lake to talk, she napped. Somewhere along the way, she must have passed out. I’m not sure quite when, or even how, it happened. We got her here as fast as we could. The doctor says she’s in pretty bad shape. He’s trying to patch her up now.” “But why?” Emmy was frustrated. “And why didn’t she call the police?” “Because the creep who attacked her was a cop, or at least she thinks so.” “Well, is there anything we can do while we wait?” “If Weenie were here, he’d have brought Monopoly, like he did when I was in the hospital.” Anna laughed. “I need to study, actually, but I don’t think I could concentrate.” Jenny smiled at Charles’ comment. “I keep telling you to relax. You have a paper coming up, don’t you? Go ahead and try reading up on it. If you need help, I’ll do what I can.” “But if the doctor should come back while I’m out at the car?” “Give me your keys, Charles; I’ll get your book. Which one do you need?” Anna started for the car. Chapter 8 “How is she?” Mary and Albert Jones had just arrived at the hospital. After enquiring after Eileen, they had hurried to the second floor waiting room. Charles and Anna sat alone in the room, facing one another on parallel couches, papers and books spread around them. Charles looked up. “She just got out of surgery. She’s still in recovery. The doctor said that one of the nurses will come and get us when we can see her.” Charles smiled weakly. “He said she’ll be just fine.” “Who? Do they know who it was?” “Not yet. We’re hoping that when she wakes up, she’ll tell us.” Jenny, Timothy and Sasha came in with bags from Taco Bell. “Any news?” “She’s in recovery.” “Here. Number 10 with Dr. Pepper, right?” “Yeah. Thanks Jenny. You know Eileen’s parents, right?” “We’ve met. Hello Mary and Albert. Did you have a good drive?” “Yes, thank you.” “Jenny, would you read over this paper and tell me what you think? Normally, I’d have Eileen do it, but...” Charles’ voice drifted off. “I understand. Let me see.” Jenny took the paper and a pen and started making corrections. Timothy settled in beside her and started reading his latest Civ. assignment. Sasha looked over Anna’s paper and Charles tried to eat dinner. Mary and Albert went to the nurses’ station to see what was happening. When the nurse came in, Charles started to his feet. “Is Mr. Linden here?” “No, sorry,” Timothy answered and Charles sat down again. “No one here but us chickens.” Anna and Sasha laughed and Charles gave a sigh of relief. “Some call me...Tim?” “What is your quest?” The two of them laughed while Sasha and Jenny looked on, annoyed. “We’ll have to watch The Holy Grail when she wakes up. She’ll love it!” “We demand a SHRUBBERY! Nee!” Charles was laughing merrily when the nurse came in. “You may see her now. She’s in room 210.” Charles stopped laughing, but the smile remained on his face. “Isn’t that the room I was in when I stayed here?” Anna and Charles were the first in the room, and Anna looked around the tiny room with familiarity. Eileen smiled from the bed. “I noticed that. I think it fitting that roommates share the same hospital room! Charles, come sit by me.” Her voice betrayed her pain and he could see the heartbreak within her. “Hey, beautiful,” he greeted her. “Where?” She laughed, and Charles smiled. Brushing a loose hair out of her face he kissed her forehead. “Right here. How do you feel?” “Tied up.” Eileen laughed again, a merry sound. Then she noticed her parents in the doorway. “Momma! Daddy! Come give me a hug, please?” Her eyes pleaded with them, and they were beside her in an instant. Charles moved aside, unobtrusively, taking up a position by her head. Seeing tears in her Momma’s eyes, Eileen smiled. “I’m OK, Momma. God looked out for me and I’m gonna be fine.” “I know, sweetie, I know.” Eileen sighed, and her parents moved aside as Jenny came up. “I think I need to tell someone, but I’m still scared. I don’t know what he’ll do to me,” Eileen whispered to Jenny. “You’ll be fine, honey, I’m sure. And besides, you have all of us here to protect you! One of us will be here with you around the clock to keep you safe, I promise.” Jenny gently squeezed Eileen’s hand and moved aside so Timothy could hug her, and then Sasha. Soon the nurse came in and sent everyone into the hall while the doctor examined his handiwork. When he emerged, he announced that she was indeed in fine condition and was eager to see her friends. Another nurse approached the group. “Would one of you like to stay here with her? I can let you use the spare bed as long as we don’t need it.” Seeing the puzzled relief on Charles’ face, she explained, “When she was waking up, she mumbled something about not wanting to be alone, about being afraid of the cops. I don’t need any more prompting than that. Obviously, this is one scared little girl.” “Thank you. We’ll set something up here in a minute.” The nurse looked around the room. “Where did her parents go?” “They went to go get a room and dinner. They’re both taking off of work tomorrow, but they have to be back Wednesday, so they’ll be leaving tomorrow afternoon,” Jenny answered for Charles. “Oh, OK. I just wondered.” She looked in at the frightened girl and crossed herself. “Lord have mercy,” she said as she left the room. “I’ll call my parents and have them bring me some clothes. I’ll spend the night here, and then in the morning, if someone can stay here while I’m in class, I’ll get a shower at the dorm and go to class.” Charles was all ready with a solution. “I’ll be right back,” he continued. Kissing Eileen’s forehead and smoothing a loose strand out of her face, he left the room fighting tears. Chapter 9 She hadn’t been in this hell in so long that she had almost forgotten it existed. Shadows of it manifested themselves from time to time, but never had she ever thought that she would have to revisit it. Tossing and turning in her sleep, she relived over and over again the nightmarish evening. She saw the knife flashing down and felt the cold point against her skin. The night echoed his voice and she heard again, “Quit resistin’ arrest. I’ll have to charge ya with resistin’ arrest. Boy, Ryan said you was a great lay, but nothin’ could quite prepare me for this. You’re some sweet meat, baby!” She felt his hand stroking her forehead and fought with all she could. She wanted only to be away from here. Why couldn’t she be safe, even now, years after he had gone to jail? Fighting with all she had in her, she struck at the hand on her arm. “Eileen, honey, wake up. It’s only a nightmare. You’re safe. I’m right here. Wake up, honey.” Charles stood by her side and tried to shake her awake. Eileen thrashed in her sleep and fought against an enemy only present in her dreams, and yet very alive in her life. “Eileen, honey, wake up. You’re safe. You’re right here, with me, and you’re safe. Wake up.” He couldn’t get her to wake up, and her thrashing threatened to tear the IV in her arm loose. He carefully reached for the call button and called the night nurse. “Please, she’s gonna hurt herself. She’s having a nightmare and I can’t get her to wake up.” Charles was frantic. The nurse came in a moment later and reached down to the frightened young woman in the bed. “Eileen, wake up. You’re in the hospital and you are safe. I need you to lay still or you are going to hurt yourself. Wake up, dear.” Charles had crossed to the other side of the bed and was praying frantically. “Oh, Eileen! Wake up, honey!” Eileen still fought against the man and fears that held her, until a familiar voice broke through the madness. “Charles? Charles, is that you? Oh, God, he’s here, he’s here again, make him go away, Charles.” Tears streaming down her face, she clasped now for the hand on her arm. “Charles, make him go away!” “He’s gone. Lie still, honey. The nurse is gonna fix your IV. You’re OK, honey. Just lie still.” “He’s gone?” “Yes, I’m sure. He’s gone.” “Sit with me, Charles. Make sure he doesn’t come back.” Scooting over, she patted the bed beside her. “Just hold me,” she wept. He settled into the bed and held her close. Pulling her head to him, he stroked her hair as her head settled into the nook on his shoulder that seemed to have been made for her. “Go on, Eileen, get to sleep. I’ll stay right here with you.” The nurse adjusted the IV and quietly slipped from the room as Charles stroked Eileen’s hair. Standing in the doorway, she smiled as he murmured comforting words into her ear and held her close. “Call if you need me. I think once she gets back to sleep, she’ll be fine.”
Please note that this story is still being written and will undergo major revisions from time to time. I'd like to request that you refrain from exploiting my material. Thank you! Heather
This story was updated 7/24/97. I fit the text to the page a little better, but there have been no content changes yet.
Thanks for reading!